'Bahamianisation is affirmative action without quotas', says Senator

Below is an article from our Affirmative Action Media Monitoring Project. These articles represent a wide variety of views. These views do not necessarily represent the views of AAPF but instead are intended to provide you with an overview of the current affirmative action debate. March 30, 2011

BAHAMIANISATION has become "affirmative action without quotas", according to FNM Senator Dion Foulkes.

Despite the policy's mandate to promote multi-faceted advancement of Bahamians of all races, Mr Foulkes said that the initiative now closely mirrored the United States due to the historical discrimination of blacks in both countries.

Mr Foulkes said: "The US Federal Government in the 1960s and 1970s developed a policy, and in many respects made that policy law, to guarantee economic, educational, and social opportunities for minorities in the USA."

Mr Foulkes added: "One essential difference between affirmative action and Bahamianization was the use of quotas.

"Because black Bahamians are the majority in the Bahamas the question of quotas never arose."

During his debate on various bills to facilitate the privatisation and sale of BTC in the Upper House yesterday, Mr Foulkes defended his party's commitment and direct involvement in the economic, educational and social advancement of Bahamians.

Mr Foulkes said: "Employment opportunities have been the main focus of the Bahamianization policy, even though, it is not limited to employment.

"Bahamianization is more than jobs," he added. "It is also about land and business ownership, about the deepening of Bahamian culture and strengthening of social cohesiveness."

Lending his support to the BTC legislation, FNM Senator Dr Duane Sands said that the various bills would propel the country forward as able participants in the Information Age.

During his contribution, Dr Sands highlighted the country's lackluster response to globalisation in various industries throughout history.

Dr Sands cited the downturn of sponging, forestry operations, and pineapples, and the minimal participation in the industrial revolution.

Dr Sands said: "Globalization, or more importantly, our response to globalization and the flexibility required to respond, has not been pretty."

Dr Sands added: "We have arrived at a defining moment. We have sought to keep our eyes on the real prize. We have sought to avoid repeating the hard lessons learnt."

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